Arib to quit parliament silently as harassment inquiry goes on

Photo: Dutch News
Arib chaired parliament from 2016 to 2021. Photo: Dutch News

Former chair of parliament Khadija Arib will bow out after 24 years as an MP without a formal send-off, amid allegations that she presided over an ‘unsafe working environment’ for her staff.

Departing MPs traditionally write a letter that is read out in the chamber by the current chair, which in this case is Arib’s successor Vera Bergkamp. Arib, who held the position from 2016, had hoped to be re-elected following the 2021 general election but was defeated by Bergkamp.

The 62-year-old Labour MP said last month she was stepping down after parliament’s executive committee launched an investigation into two anonymous complaints about her behaviour in office.

Arib described the inquiry as a ‘stab in the back’ and vigorously denied the allegations of bullying and harassment.

But an analysis by the government’s legal advisers, Pels Rijcken, found that 23 civil servants had spoken confidentially to doctors or liaison officials in parliament in the last three years about ‘unwanted behaviour’ by Arib.

Arib was angered by the fact that she only learned of the inquiry when she was contacted by the NRC newspaper. Bergkamp has asked police to investigate how the details of the probe were leaked to journalists.

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